Welcome to the Ethos blog. The following post was written in a past season of prayer and fasting, but we still find it to be full of wisdom, practicality, and insight. If you find errors (past dates, etc) — we hope you'll graciously overlook those as you mine for pearls of wisdom here.
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Caity Shinnick is wife to Will (worship pastor, extraordinary cook, great dad) and mom to Hattie, Liam, and Violet. Caity leads the creative and communication efforts here at Ethos. The following blog aims to inspire you to get practical, try some new and creative things, and make a plan when it comes to praying for your 15 people.
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LET'S GET PRACTICAL...
If you are anything like me, the more practical something gets...the more success I have with it. If I think about cleaning my house without a plan or list, it just feels overwhelming. If I sit down at my desk at work without looking at my calendar or making a task list, I feel a little lost.
But when I bring it down to ground level and make a plan, I naturally get started on the tasks at hand. Clean the house...becomes more like sweep the floor, clean off the counters, put away the shoes by the door. One thing at a time. A work day with a million things to do...becomes send an email to that person, brainstorm the next series art, finish the flier for that event, etc. Again, one thing at a time.
And now I sit here...with a list of people in my community. And that sounds great and exciting in theory. But I know myself...if I don't make a plan, it's probably not going to happen.
So what making a plan to pray look like? For me, this looks like reviewing my calendar. I know that a couple times a week I have a few minutes alone or a 20 minute drive alone in the car...and that's a great time for me to pray. I also have a time sitting in the car rider line...which is a natural time for me to write in my journal, so I could turn that into a time when I can write prayers. I'd like to think I will have a few minutes in quiet in the morning when I wake up...but my kids are loud and busy and ready for me to make breakfast...so I will likely have to get up a little earlier each day to pray over my list. Mealtimes will be a natural time for us to pray as a family over our requests. And, honestly, I will need to set reminders in my phone to get these rhythms established, because time tends to get away from me!!
What are some natural rhythms in your life that lend themselves to great prayer times? How do you need to adjust your schedule to make time for daily prayer? Spend a few minutes thinking about your schedule, calendar, and rhythms.
LET'S GET CREATIVE...
When I think about these people, I know that I want to do more than rattle their names off in a list in a quick daily prayer. My heart really does want to go before the Lord on their behalf and cover them in prayer.
Below are several ideas to devote time to interceding with intention...
SLIPS OF PAPER
Write each person's name on a slip of paper. Set two jars out. Place all the slips of paper in one jar. Put this jar somewhere you'll see it...on your desk, on your table at home, by your bed, etc. As you sit and eat breakfast, as you get started at work, as you lay down to go to sleep...draw a name out of a jar, hold it in your hand, and pray over this person. Then move it to the empty jar. And repeat — whether you do it all in one sitting or throughout the day.
1 PERSON EVERY 2 DAYS
If you feel like it might be overwhelming to pray over every single name or request every day...you could pray over 1 person or thing every 2 days. Spend those two days dedicating each prayer to that person — pray for all areas of their life — their relationships with family & friends, their work, their neighborhood, their relationship with God, their hopes and dreams, etc. Pray as you lay down to sleep and when you wake up. Carry their name on a small piece of paper wherever you go those two days. And after those two days, write their postcard. Consider writing a card to that person and mailing it, if that's appropriate!
I am a highly visual person. I like to see and imagine things as I pray or work on a project. When it comes to praying for someone, I like to imagine that person in my mind. I try to slow down, connect with the Lord, and bring a name before him in a time of imaginative prayer. With my list, I will likely sit in quiet, in a place that inspires me...outside if weather permits or by favorite window and try imaginative prayer.
For me, this looks like closing my eyes and drawing close to the Lord. Sitting still and slowing my breathing...thinking about God as Father and his desire to know his children. I invite the Holy Spirit to move and speak. And then I wait for a moment or two. When I feel settled and at peace, I bring up a name (we'll use the name John) and pray, "Father, John is yours, a child you created with intention and a son you deeply love. Will you help him to notice your presence in his life today?" And I sit there and let my mind imagine our Father drawing his son, John, into his presence. This might look like a scene in my mind's eye of a child climbing in the lap of a father, or it might look different...I try to let the Holy Spirit move and be open to what comes to mind.
I find that it's helpful to keep a pen and pad nearby, in case I want to jot down anything I see in my mind as I pray and listen. The Lord may speak some things on behalf of this person, and I write those down as well. Let the Spirit lead, and enjoy the slowness of imaginative prayer!
ALARMS IN YOUR PHONE
My life tends to be a little busy sometimes...with 3 young kids, working part time, tending to a house and meals and whatnot. So the day can pass me by quickly! One idea to bring prayer to all parts of the day is to set an alarm in your phone for each person or for groups of a few names. I usually know that I will be driving to work or schools at a certain time, so an alarm set for that time while I am driving will give me a quick reminder! Whether you choose an alarm for each person (yikes, that might be a lot of alarms!) or 3 alarms with a few names each...you can bring a rhythm of prayer to your day. (Make sure you choose an alarm sound that is pleasant...or you may end up feeling really agitated, haha!)
You can also set an alarm in your phone to remind you to use the prayer guide (provided in your Awaken Nashville packet or online) — we all like to think we'll remember...but sometimes (most of the time), we (I) just don't...so an alarm might help!
KEEP A JOURNAL
Write each person's name at the top of a page. As you pray for them throughout the month, make notes on their page — specific things you prayed or things you feel like the Holy Spirit is speaking on their behalf. At the end of the month, review what you have written on their page as you have prayed, and thank God for what he's been speaking.
I am praying for you today. Praying that God would shape your heart to really dig in and pursue prayer! Get practical, get creative!
If you have other ideas how people can get practical or creative with their prayer time, feel free to share! Email me at .